Accommodating a younger crowd

December 2020

Those in the earlier stages of their careers, the Generation Zers and younger Millennials, have been among those hardest hit by the change in working circumstances this year.  

These individuals are less likely to own their own homes and more likely to be working in bedrooms or cramped spaces. They’re also the age group most likely to benefit from socializing in the workplace and the workers who are still learning on the job. They haven’t developed the longer working relationships to have solid friendships with co-workers or to feel at ease with management.

Given that, it comes as no surprise that polls have discovered that they’re the ones most keen to get back into the office, in some shape or form, when we eventually enter a post-Covid world, without any lockdown or tiered restrictions.

An Ipsos MORI survey for the CBI, released on the first day of its 2020 annual conference, reflected a major shift in attitudes towards the office, from businesses polled, suggesting that cultures and workplaces will not continue in the same vein, for any generation, moving forward.

Although those polled believed that remote working has challenged the ability of junior staff to learn from observing and listening to more experienced colleagues, they still anticipated a switch to a more relaxed form of working going forward, mixing both home and office locations.

Then and now

Gen Z and Millennial research and insights provider, YPulse, having surveyed young consumers on their employment and career goals back in 2017, found that there was a consistent year-on-year desire from 18-36 year olds to have flexibility and the ability to work from home.

When conducting the same polls during lockdown, the research specialist established that 36 per cent of those polled found the transition to working solely from home to be difficult.

Constant working from home was not what the vision was three years ago. The ideal is a bit of both – working from home when it suits, with an office to go into to connect with peers and to learn and grow.

Making the new office work

With the expectation that time spent in the office will be limited, going forward, and that the use of the space will change, it’s important to make the environment work for all – and with a special nod to those younger parties who will want to get the most out of the time that they spend there.

The new office space is likely to contain less desks and individual working bases and more shared areas for collaboration and socializing. Individual work can be done from home, so it makes sense to focus on the shared space.

In order to future proof the office to some degree, modular furniture is worth considering. The economic climate will be rocky for some time and modular furniture allows for changing needs.

The younger generation is well-versed in today’s technology – they’ve grown up with it. Concentrating on getting the tech right so it’s easy to use is a must. It’s advised that the tech invested in can accommodate home use and that it allows for full connectivity.

The freedom to work wherever they choose will remain important to the younger workforce. The trick is to make it seamless so that the transition from home to office is easy.

Giving Gen Z the experience they long for

It’s never been more important to provide a good base for the youngest working generation who have been left to hang loose in recent months.

An article published last year by People Management outlined that Gen Z is keen for face-to-face contact; to be able to regularly meet with managers and to be challenged, with a varied experience in a workplace that empowers them.

Accepting that the traditional five day, nine-to-five is an unlikely proposition in the future, the onus has to be on making sure that shared space is attractive and welcoming for the reduced time it is available. We have to deliver on all of the above fronts, mindful of the younger age groups who stand to gain the most from this shared space.

For advice on making your space appealing to all working generations, get in contact today…